Betul: The work for holding the Defence Expo failed to take off as scheduled on Thursday morning as the protestors staged protest; the people from different parts of the state joined hands with the local residents and the Orixtt Porjecho Awaz members in demanding cancellation of the proposed exhibition.
Quepem MLA Chandrakant Kavlekar said that the movement against the exhibition is no longer just that of the Orixtt Porjecho Awaz or the villagers of Betul but it has snowballed into a people’s movement.
Kavlekar further said that the opposition to the Defence Expo is not politically motivated, adding that it is being opposed by the people across the party lines with the Betul panchayat, which is being controlled by the BJP, also following suit.
Goa Pradesh Congress Committee president Luizinho Faleiro, along with several party leaders, NGOs, sarpanchas, and zilla panchayat members, criticised the district administration for serving notices to five priests, including the Betul parish priest, through the police, saying that the government is trying to intimidate those who are supporting the movement against the Defence Expo.
The protestors shouted slogans against the Chief Minister Laximikant Parsekar, and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar for bulldozing the decision on the people and demanded that the decision to the Defence Expo should be reversed.
Speaking to media, Faleiro said that the government is having a hidden agenda, and is misleading the people by saying it is temporary – just four days, however, the RTI documents suggest that the Goa government has given the land to the defence forces on a permanent basis.
“A high level committee recommendations had suggested Mopa area while Quitol never surfaced in the report, hence the government needs to make its stand clear,” he said.[NT]